Why Are Funeral Plans In Scotland Going Wrong?

Are Funeral Plans In Scotland Worthwhile?

It may seem ridiculous to pick out Scotland as being the completely wrong target market for funeral plans


As if Scottish people had never coped with burials or arranging a funeral themselves. 


There exists an issue whereby people may have to travel great distances to see a funeral proceed when if they had paid cash it may have occurred 200 yards down the village road instead of twenty miles away….(continued below)

The problem is a real one and was highlighted in a A Review for Scottish Government entitled Funeral Poverty in Scotland by the charity The Scottish Association of Citizens Advice Bureau.


There is growing pressure from around the country concerning several issues that the UK Government should step in and regulate funeral plans further in consort with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Funeral Planning Authority (FPA).

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Why Scotland And Not Wales?

What exactly is the problem with Scotland and pre paid funeral plans? 


Does England and Wales not have similar issues? 


Some parts of the British Isles are more sparsely populated than others. 


Yes there are parts of England and Wales in a similar situation but fewer, Scotland on the other hand has mountainous regions and a great many more Islands.

Wales does have a similar problem but not on such a large scale as population areas are more concentrated.

  • Pre paid funeral plan companies are a competitive bunch and they try to bring on board as many Funeral Directors as possible.
  • It may be the case that some Directors are able to re-sell more than one type of pre paid funeral plan, however when a local Funeral Director remains independent of the idea the plan gets stuck further away.
  • When a Scottish person in a village, which no doubt has a Funeral home quite local to it as it would have been in place for generations, when they receive marketing about a pre paid funeral plan it all seems very inviting.
  • Free this, free that, pay monthly, all or most of a funeral paid for but buying funeral plans is done within a network and it is very competitive.
Take as an example this FAQ from a popular funeral plan company website:
  • Can I choose my Funeral Director? "We normally nominate a funeral director for you when you take your plan out but if you have a preference please let us know and we'll speak to them on your behalf."

Shouldn't The FPA / FCA Make Funeral Plan Providers More Competitive?

Now the comment above is not disingenuous as most of the UK population does have a networked pre paid funeral parlour on their doorstep.


It doesn’t actually confirm you can use a local funeral director.


However regions like Wales and Scotland and parts of England do find themselves without a Funeral Director that is in a pre paid plan network, and if they are, perhaps it’s with a competitor.


This is why the funeral plan company suggests that if you really want a plan in place that you can refer your local funeral director to their plan company and they will do their utmost to bring them on board, with you needing to prise them on board yourself.


Otherwise yes, in parts of Scotland your nearest funeral director may not be in a network, independent and therefore people may have to travel further away to view the deceased, to join an Order of Service or be present during cremation.


It is this aspect which people feel is incorrect, how is it possible that people who buy funeral plans cannot possibly know that the funeral will be 30 miles away?


According to the Scottish CAB, it’s possibly an act of forceful miss selling.

"When she bought the plan it was sold to her that it could be used at any funeral director and would cover all the costs. However it now turns out that the nearest funeral director who will honour this plan is over 30 miles away and she will only get the “basics”, as the funeral director put it, with the plan."

It’s a hardship that really does need more care and attention. 


Without wishing to push the boundaries too far. 


Customers need to understand better what they are signing in relation to how far away from the family a funeral might be when it’s a pre paid funeral plan. 


Is this really just a Scottish problem with pre paid funeral plans?

A solution might be to limit the selling of pre paid funeral plans to within a certain number of miles.


Understandably people move around the country and may die a huge distance from where they first arranged the plan which is where the network comes in handy. 

But for the elderly and those that don’t, still being sold a funeral plan when the distance is greater than five miles should perhaps not be legal when a funeral plan company cannot really provide a high standard of service and the correct level of emotional support. 


Seriously, imagine a Funeral Cortege of 5 cars for 30 miles in rural Scotland.

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“The free call that I got from FuneralGuide 
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I didn’t want to leave my kids with that kind of burden.”

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